Almost Human Previews

12 11 2013

I know my international friends have been complaining that they haven’t been able to see the 8-minute preview on Hulu.  I thought it was not out there.  I don’t know if this is what Hulu has, but if you combine the first 3-minutes of the show with the additional 8-minute preview, this is going to give you a good idea what the show is like:

Here is the first 3-minutes of the show:

 

 

Here is another 8-minute segment of the show (not exactly right after the original 3 minutes, but HELL YEAH, you have just now gotten to see 11 minutes of the show.

Thank you to @SilkenSoul for testing the links to be sure our international friends could get access to these particular YouTube videos!

Are you excited? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section!





Celebrity Corner: Bart Montgomery: Promotional Wizard (Part 2)

4 11 2013

Please read here for Part 1 of the interview:  https://pbmom.wordpress.com/2013/11/01/celebrity-corner-bart-montgomery-promotional-wizard-part-1/

How long do you get to work on a particular preview before it goes to air? Have there ever been close calls to deadlines? Can you share anything specific if you did?

Usually you get a week to work on promos for a show during the regular television season. You want to finish promos for an episode at least a week before the episode airs so there’s time for viewers to see them. On launch promos for new shows you get a longer time frame, perhaps weeks or months because you have the pilot episode already. For returning shows, you have to wait for production to start before you can get material to cut promos with.

There have been some close calls when it comes to a promo making air. Back in the day when I was doing promos for “America’s Most Wanted,” we would promo the specific fugitive that the show was looking for and sometimes viewers would see the promos, recognize the fugitive, call the police and the fugitive would be arrested before the actual episode could air. This would throw everything off and we would quickly have to produce new promos featuring a different fugitive. I remember having an hour to produce a new promo and finishing just in time for the new promo to be slapped into a tape machine and broadcast. Haven’t had to do that in a long time, thank God.

(X-Files Promos)

How do you decide which way to take a preview? I noticed that just recently on Twitter you asked viewers what they wanted to see in a preview and you got a pretty good response–no spoilers, action, explosions, relationships, which I think pretty much covers all aspects.

Ideas on how to approach doing a promo will usually come to me while I’m watching an episode. I take lots of detailed notes on dialogue and shots that I like. For “Fringe” alone I’ve taken around 2000 pages of notes. Notes make things move faster during an edit session because it’s easier to find what you need.

During most of my career I’ve never really had an occasion to ask fans of a show what they’d like to see in a promo / trailer. Twitter provided the perfect opportunity to learn what fans thought about how a favorite show is being sold to them. I asked fans questions when I was working on “Fringe” and the responses were very helpful. The music we used in the final “Fringe” promos was suggested by a fan. Fox has always been a leader in embracing new technology. Twitter is a wonderful tool for promotion and linking fans together and with “Fringe” it really showed. There are some AMAZING “Fringe” fans in the Twitter-verse and I am still awed by what they were able to pull off.


(Fringe Promo–Thanks @NataliaQuique)

I think that in some aspects part of your job is sales. You have to sell a show in a very specific short period of time. I think it is very reminiscent of commercials for products except people are usually flipping through commercials on their DVRs. Would I be right to think that while flipping through these commercials they have to see this preview of an episode and want to stop and look at it before they continue flipping through the products to get back to their show? If so, that’s pressure!

Television promos and trailers can be considered an art form but in the end yes, you are selling something. Promo producers are acutely aware that viewers are very adept at wielding the DVR remote. I try to have at least one shot in whatever promo I’m producing that will entice a viewer to stop fast-forwarding through a commercial break and rewind the DVR to watch the entire promo. Sometimes a few frames of a promo will be all you have to promote a show so you’ve got to really think about what you’re putting on the screen. It has to be interesting. It has to be compelling because most everyone is an expert at watching television and people know when you’re messing with them. The audience knows when you’re not being honest. They may not be able to quantify exactly why something in a promo or trailer isn’t quite right but they know something’s wrong. Make sense?

Alcatraz Promo

Have there ever been moments where after a piece airs you feel you could have done things a little differently, or is there no second guessing yourself in this line of work?

Yeah, I have thought of better ways to do a promo after the fact. Sure, there are a times when I feel that I absolutely nailed it but they’re rare. Given time you can find a million different ways to make a promo so there is some second guessing, I suppose.

I remember a particular promo I did for “The X Files” that had a shot in it that I thought was really cool. I didn’t stop to consider that younger viewers might be frightened by this shot. It was just a cool creepy shot to me. So the promo aired and I got a few irate e-mails from some parents who didn’t appreciate having to explain the “coolness” of this particular shot I’d used to their children. They were right. I learned from that mistake and don’t think I’ve ever repeated it.
Second guessing has its merits the trick is to do your second guessing before the promo airs.

With all the changes coming so rapidly in the way people view television, do you have any thoughts about the future for promotional clips?

Yes, things are changing fast in the world of television viewing. I think the future of what a promo will look like and how it will be viewed will evolve depending on one thing and that is when a viewer records a show on a DVR or streams it off the internet, will that viewer be able to fast-forward through promos. We all know that right now if you record a show on DVR, you can blaze through anything by fast-forwarding. Will that continue to be possible? We’re already starting to see disabled fast-forwarding in video on demand and streaming. Will that extend into all viewing options? Only time will tell.

Regardless of what happens, my personal philosophy regarding promos is this: Most everyone who watches television is an expert at watching television. Even if they can’t quantify why what they’re watching promo wise feels wrong or out of place, they will know something is not right. Viewers know when they’re being messed with because they’re experts at watching television. So, if you’re viewing a recorded show and a promo begins to play, that promo had better somehow grab your attention from the first frame and be compelling enough so that you don’t fast forward through it, you just have to watch it. It’s as simple and complex as that.

The future of promos will be interesting. I suspect there will be many new options explored for enticing viewers to watch new shows as well as established ones. Ten years from now who knows what the promo world will look like? It’s certainly changed a lot in the last ten years. One of the most exciting things to me is fan participation. It’s amazing to see fans up-loading promos of their favorite shows to the internet and sharing them with others or creating their own fan made pieces. It’s really cool. When fans get involved in this way, great things happen and as a promo producer, it’s really a lot of fun to watch!

Bart next to the Headless Horseman costume from Sleepy Hollow

Bart next to the Headless Horseman costume from Sleepy Hollow

I’d like to thank Bart for being SO generous with his time and his answers and to @NataliaQuique for being the ultimate uber-Bart-fan who gave me an idea and a push in the right direction.  I hope you enjoyed getting to know him better.  I sure did!





Celebrity Corner: Bart Montgomery: Promotional Wizard (Part 1)

1 11 2013

For a brief period of time from August 2008 until November of 2008 I had the tremendous opportunity to be part of a live newscast for Fox 26 Houston for a segment once a week called “Your Family Matters.” Other women within the community were also invited. While I was not on every week, because I had a unique perspective of being a mother of a child with a disability or politically because of my no-party affiliation, I was often selected for a particular topic as part of a group. I was captivated by all the elements that went into a production of a newscast. Every job is important. About the same time, I found a blog by Joseph Mallozzi who was an executive producer and writer on the series Stargate. Oftentimes he would feature a Q&A of different people working on the show. It was a wonderful opportunity to learn more of all the elements that went in to creating a popular series. Occasionally I get a chance to ask questions of people working on a show. Occasionally they graciously indulge my request for an interview. What I am learning is that their stories are far more fascinating.

One such person is Bart Montgomery. Many of us on Twitter got to know him as the man behind the promotional pieces for Fringe on Fox Broadcasting. He became a rock star to us (although the modest man he is, I imagine that he would blush that I have said that). I wanted to know more about his career and how he makes certain decisions that lead him to create the videos that lead the viewer to decide whether or not it is something they might want to view. The answers were so terrific that I had to break this up into two parts. Here is the first of two. Enjoy!

What is your official title at Fox?

Senior Writer/Producer, Fox On-Air Promo Creative.

How long have you been with Fox?

I’ve been with Fox for 16 years, first from 1990 – 1999 then from 2006 to present.

BartsEditBay

Where the magic happens!

How did you get into this particular field of work? Was it something you studied for in college, or something that you got on-the-job experience? If you didn’t study for this particular field in college, what was your major?

I studied Film and Television production at the University of Missouri-Columbia. There isn’t a university level course that I know of that deals with producing television promos. It’s kind of a specialized thing that you learn on the job. I mean, you can learn the basics of television and film production in college and that will help you in promo work but in my university experience, I never studied anything as detailed as promo or trailer production.

To tell the truth, I kind of fell into producing promos by chance. I had moved out to Los Angeles to get into the film and television business in some capacity. I didn’t know what I wanted to do yet but just wanted to get involved. Unfortunately I arrived in L.A. during a writer’s strike so there was no work to be had. Every show and film set was shut down. After a couple of weeks looking for work, a friend of mine from college who was living in Florida and knew I was looking, told me that a friend of hers in Florida had a sister who was working at a promo / trailer production company in Hollywood. She told me that I should contact her friend’s sister so I did. I met her the next day and she hired me on the spot for the high profile job of runner / tape librarian. I had a masters degree and I was running around Hollywood picking up and delivering video tapes. Exciting huh? It does prove, however, that when it comes to getting a job in Hollywood, it IS who you know.
After several months working as a “runner” I was delivering tapes to an edit session for one of the company owners, a man named Geoff Calnan, who is a legend in the promo business. I kid you not, he is a promo master and anyone reading this has seen his work. I had dropped off the videotapes that were needed for the session and Geoff turns to me and asks me what I wanted to do in the company. Without thinking I replied, “I want to do what you do, produce promos and trailers.” I remember he looked at me for a moment and said, “Okay, you’re doing the next promo for “Superboy.” “Superboy” was a syndicated show that we had the promo contract for at the time. So, that was the first show I ever produced a promo for and it launched my career. I’ve even found some of my “Superboy” promos on YouTube— Go figure.

You do/have done the previews for episodes like The Following, Sleepy Hollow, Fringe, Almost Human, Touch, and X-Files. What are some other shows?

Well, in addition to the shows you’ve listed, I can give you a short overview. I’ve produced promos for “America’s Most Wanted” “Beverly Hills 90210” “The Simpsons” “Married with Children” “Millenium” “Harsh Realm” “24” “Family Guy” “Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles” to name a few.

Is it a team effort to produce the one preview or do you work on a particular project/episode by yourself while others are working on other episodes?

Usually each producer is assigned a show to write and produce promos for. Sometimes, especially when a show is first launched on the network, several producers will be assigned to produce multiple launch promos. But, most of the time, there is a single producer for each show.

Fox is a very creative place to work. They give you a lot of freedom to try different approaches. I’m biased of course but I think Fox is the best network on television and I’m proud to work here. There, I said it.


(Space Above And Beyond within a commercial block)

Do you get to choose the music for a particular preview? If so you must have to listen to quite a variety and be very knowledgeable about current trends. Do you hear something and think, “That would be great for such-and-such show” or do you file it away for a different time in the future?

Yes, as a producer I usually select the music for the promos. There are times when someone at a higher level will have a specific music idea or there may be a new music track being offered at a reduced rate by an established band looking for exposure that we’ll use but most of the time it’s me listening to various production music libraries. I’m always listening to current popular music tracks looking for ways to use songs that that I think would be good for a show I’m working on. More often than not, I’ll find something really good that I’ll file away in my mind for possible use later. I remember listening to Pandora one morning on the way to work and hearing a song by the band Collide called “Am I Here? I just had to use it and it became the track I used for the “Fringe” Season 4 launch promos so sometimes it’s just pure luck that you find exactly what you need musically. I’ve used music from Trent Reznor to Johnny Cash and everything in between. One band I’m dying to use in a promo / trailer is Garbage, just haven’t found the right situation yet.

(Come back for Part 2 in the next day or so.  The best is yet to come!)





Advanced Screening of Almost Human

17 10 2013

FOX and Eventful are giving fans in three winning cities that Demand it! the most, an advance screening of FOX’s fun, adrenaline-fueled drama ALMOST HUMAN. FOX is putting the power in the hands of the fans to Demand it! and win an exclusive free screening of ALMOST HUMAN anywhere in the country before it premieres Monday, Nov. 4 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.

ALMOST HUMAN fans can vote for their cities online NOW at http://eventful.com/almosthuman. In the three cities that receive the highest online vote tally by Wednesday, Oct. 23 at 5:00 PM PT, FOX will host a free advance screening of ALMOST HUMAN at a local theater. Any city in the country has a chance to make it to the Top Three!

From Emmy Award-winning executive producer J.J. Abrams (“Fringe,” “Lost,” “Revolution,” “Person of Interest,” the “Star Trek” and “Mission: Impossible” franchises) and creator/executive producer J.H. Wyman (“Fringe,” “The Mexican”), comes ALMOST HUMAN. Starring Karl Urban (the “Star Trek” and “The Lord of the Rings” franchises) and Golden Globe Award nominee Michael Ealy (“Sleeper Cell,” “Common Law”), the new series is set approximately 30 years in the future, when police officers are partnered with highly evolved human-like androids. ALMOST HUMAN will follow the week-to-week missions of JOHN KENNEX (Urban), a detective and sole survivor of a devastating police ambush, and his robot partner, DORIAN (Ealy), as this buddy-cop duo solve cases and fight to keep the lid on dangerously evolved criminals in this futuristic landscape.

ALMOST HUMAN is produced by Bonanza Productions Inc., in association with Bad Robot Productions and Warner Bros. Television. The series was created by J.H. Wyman, who wrote the pilot. The series is executive-produced by J.J. Abrams, Wyman and Bryan Burk. Kathy Lingg (“Person of Interest,” “Revolution,” “Fringe”) and Reid Shane (“Fringe”) are co-executive producers. Brad Anderson (“Fringe,” “The Killing”) directed and served as co-executive producer on the pilot. “Like” ALMOST HUMAN on Facebook at Facebook.com/AlmostHumanFOX. Follow the series on Twitter @AlmostHumanFOX and join the discussion using #almosthuman. See photos and videos on Instagram by following @AlmostHumanFOX.

(Via Press Release)

Related Links: https://pbmom.wordpress.com/2013/10/17/jj-abrams-jh-wyman-talk-about-almost-human/

Related Links: https://pbmom.wordpress.com/2013/07/02/first-look-almost-human/

 

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JJ Abrams & JH Wyman Talk About “Almost Human.”

17 10 2013

People are getting very excited about the premiere date approaching for “Almost Human” coming to Fox Broadcasting on Monday, November 4, 2013 at 8/7 central followed by “Sleepy Hollow.” J. J. Abrams and J.H. Wyman sit down to talk about it.

Related links: https://pbmom.wordpress.com/2013/07/02/first-look-almost-human/





Sleepy Hollow: Sneak Peek At John Noble

15 10 2013

Fringe fans cannot wait until their beloved John Noble makes a stop in Sleepy Hollow. Here is a preview:





First Look: Almost Human

2 07 2013

AlmostHumanTwitterBoxHaving been a huge Fringe fan, I was expecting great things from this show. It was even better than I expected. As the show opens, it explains that it is the year 2048. The crime rate has increased 400%. Science and technology have evolved at an uncontrollable pace. Unknown drugs and weapons flood the streets and schools. The contraband is controlled and distributed by violent, faceless criminal organizations. Law enforcement implements a new strategy to assign every officer an advanced combat-model android.

The show opens with a great action sequence and the pace of the show continues at the same level. The androids really creep me out. Lili Taylor plays Sandra Maldonado, John Kennex’s (Karl Urban) boss, who needs his help. John is a mental mess. He does not like the android he is assigned and creatively gets rid of him and picks out a model he believes he can work with, Dorian (Michael Ealy). I was pleasantly surprised that Dorian is not like a Data from Star Trek. I was worried that the Michael Ealy ‘s natural swagger would be squashed, but again, I was proven wrong. After a few minutes, you forget he is part robot.

Although this is in our future, the set looks futuristic, but not unrealistic. In true Fringe-like fashion, a science mythos is set up almost immediately. People looking for drama will be satisfied by the action, themes of betrayal, mysterious family connections, and crime-solving. I also took note of possible underlying prejudice. Science fiction fans will be satisfied with all the futuristic-type weapons, androids, technology, a story set in the future, and all things that involve DNA. There is a scene that reminds me of something I saw on the second season of “Sleeper Cell” with a twist. Michael Ealy provides subtle comic relief to an intense storyline. He gives John some tips on how to adjust to his robotic limb. By the end of the pilot, a great partnership takes root.

ALMOST HUMAN provides a little bit of everything to everyone. The only worry I have is that potential viewers who do not like “science fiction things” might dismiss the show outright because it is set in the future. I urge those viewers to watch the show first before making a decision.  Tune in on Monday, November 4, 2013 at 8 PM Eastern/7 PM Central for the season premiere.

Thank you to Fox VIP and Fox Broadcasting for the privilege of watching the pilot episode.